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UI Extension 4-H Shooting Sports Program Popularity Growing

May 25, 2017

The University of Idaho Extension 4-H Youth Development program can boast more than a century of helping young people learn leadership and good judgment in hitting targets ­— ranging from earning blue ribbons for sewing projects to mastering animal showmanship at county fairs.

It turns out that hitting the bull’s-eye is a goal that is becoming increasingly popular — literally.

Scores of 4-H members already enrolled in shooting sports projects will participate in the state shooting sports competitions June 23-24 at the Jerome County Fairgrounds and Jerome and Twin Falls, Idaho, gun clubs.

This year’s competitive shooting events include shotgun, small-bore rifle and archery. Youth will also test their hunting skills, including decision-making, wildlife identification and wildlife management knowledge.

The small-bore rifle contest will require youth to test their marksmanship with open sights in the three standard shooting positions, prone, kneeling and standing, and on silhouette targets.

In archery, 4-H shooting sports members test their skills on 3-D and standard targets.

Shotgun sports participants will try to bust clay targets on trap and skeet ranges.

The state competition is a highpoint for some 4-H members’ years. They spend much of their time learning about gun and archery equipment safety. The shooting sports projects also help 4-H’ers learn the fundamentals of marksmanship.

More than 1,000 Idaho 4-H members enroll in shooting sports projects each year. With the popularity of shooting sports in Idaho, the goal is to double the number of 4-H youth participating in the program to 2,000 by 2021.

The NRA Foundation and Friends of NRA provide financial support for the 4-H shooting sports program. So far this year, the groups have provided nearly $50,000 in grants to the state 4-H office and to eight counties — Ada, Adams, Bingham, Canyon, Caribou, Elmore, Latah and Minidoka — to buy equipment.

The 4-H shooting sports plan requires extensive training for instructors. The state office funded national-level training for instructors, who are then authorized to train and certify instructors.

“We are very excited about the Expanding Youth Involvement in Idaho 4-H Shooting Sports Programs initiative,” said Jim Wilson, University of Idaho Extension 4-H regional youth development educator and shooting sports coordinator in Coeur d’Alene. “And we are pleased that the NRA is making a substantial investment in youth education and safety programs statewide.”

Media Contacts

Jim Wilson
Idaho shooting sports coordinator
UI Extension 4-H Youth Development

Bill Loftus
Science writer
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, UI serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, a research and Extension center in Twin Falls, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to more than 11,000 students statewide, UI is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. UI competes in the Big Sky Conference and Sun Belt Conference. Learn more at: